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Stage 3b or 3c

Posts: 1154
Joined: Jun 2010

Well for 3 and a half years my sister and I thought that my mom was 3c, but today she asked her doctor and he said 3b. She had lymph node activity and I thought it was 3c because of that type of activity. Anyone want to chime in on the discepancy?

devotion10's picture
Posts: 631
Joined: Jan 2010

Staging may be more of an art than a science ... I can't think of how the distinction between 3c and 3b would have changed her treatment in any way. Both stages indicate that it has not spread to distant sites and there is only a minor difference, maybe one lymph node, that seperates the two categories it seems.

Peace. ~ Cynthia


Stage III colorectal cancer is divided into three more separate categories: IIIA, IIIB and IIIC. The difference between the categories lies in the extent to which the cancer has spread, and how many lymph nodes have been affected.

  • Stage IIIA: The cancer has grown into the submucosa. It may have also grown into the muscularis propria. The cancer has spread to 1 – 3 lymph nodes near the site of the primary tumor, but has not spread to distant sites.
  • Stage IIIB: The cancer has grown into the outermost layer of the colon or rectum, but has not reached nearby organs. Or, it has grown through the wall of the colon or rectum and into nearby organs or tissues. The cancer has spread to 1 – 3 lymph nodes near the primary site, but has not spread to distant organs.
  • Stage IIIC: The cancer may or may not have grown through the wall of the colon or rectum, but has spread to four or more lymph nodes near the primary site. The cancer has not metastasized to distant sites.


Maxiecat's picture
Posts: 544
Joined: Jul 2012

I was told that my staging was IIIB... But mine was in 4 out of the 18 nodes tested.  It did not change the treatment.



Posts: 520
Joined: May 2011

I was a IIIC Fall of 2010 with 5 nodes cancerous but Fall 2011 when seen in Arizona diagnosed III B with 5 nodes involvement Until the AZ Oncologist realized I had colon cancer in both right colon and appendix so now all agree I am a III C.  Sounds like the III B is right for your Mom. Prayers for her for a healthy future.


DD3's picture
Posts: 134
Joined: May 2013

My wife was initially diagnosed as 3A... Then they changed it to 3B when her tumor was biopsied.  It had more to do with the depth it went into her colon wall than lymph nodes.  Our oncologist said "this does not in any way change the treatment."  She had clean margins where the tumor was removed.  Thank goodness.

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